The Pirelli Calendar has always been more than just a series of beautiful photographs, providing also a snapshot of contemporary society and times.
In recent years it has come to encompass something even more profound embracing themes that reveal a truism or encapsulate an aspect of the human condition.
This year is no exception. Albert Watson, one of the world’s most successful photographers, has taken that legacy and produced an extraordinary series of pictures reflecting the nature of dreams and ambitions in the 21st century.
Shot in Miami and New York, Watson, who has more than 100 Vogue covers to his name, has condensed his vision for the 2019 Calendar down to four timeless stories, captured in a cinematic style as if they were a script for an auteur’s film.
Through his lens and imagination, we enter the lives of four women – and their partners – on an intimate journey exploring the path to achieving their dreams and ambitions – and how it has left them feeling.
Each has achieved or is on the road to achieving their goals in life – but such is the changing nature of success that it doesn’t always leave them satisfied or happy.
Like the old adage, be careful what you wish for, it might just come true, some are left wondering whether it was worth it and where they should go now.
Others, however, are just happy to be striving towards their ultimate objective.
Watson, who has shot iconic portraits of Steve Jobs, Alfred Hitchcock and Kate Moss, visually narrates the individual journeys, understanding the emotive power of their dreams, the dramatic turning points in their lives, their moments of victory and defeat – and most importantly how they faced each in turn.
Featuring seven stars from the worlds of fashion, film and dance, the four vignettes are displayed in an aspect ratio of 16:9, representing their cinematic nature.
Supermodel Gigi Hadid portrays a woman who is wealthy, accomplished, the envy of her peers. She has all the trappings of success and she looks to have it all, but there is sadness in amongst her glory. She relies on her mentor, played by the fashion designer Alexander Wang, to bring meaning back to her life.
French actress and model Laetitia Casta plays an artist dreaming of her future. Full of doubts about her talent, she works as a waitress as she strives for success, her boyfriend played by the Ukrainian ballet dancer Sergei Polunin offering her support.
Ballet star Misty Copeland plays a dancer dreaming of joining the prestigious Opera Ballet in Paris along with her boyfriend portrayed by fellow ballet performer Calvin Royal III. She works as a striptease artist as she waits for her big break.
Hollywood actress Julia Garner’s character is a photographer who works in the botanical gardens capturing still life portraits of rare plants. She is happy to let success happen slowly as the work itself is more than a reward for her.